Well it’s been one heck of a month I tell ya.
We have gorgeous baby kitties by our wonderful first time mama Pluto. Is it really true a female cat can have one litter with kittens from more than one dad? Who knew. The reason we researched this is Pluto had one nearly all white kitten (boy) who has yellow ear tips and light yellow striping in his tail. He is obviously Sampson’s son. However, we thought the others were from our other male Rio. Apparently, as per the internet, which isn’t really reliable about anything news related, states that cat mamas can have several papas. Curious I say, very curious.
So these cute little darlings’ eyes just opened. Here they are.
Cats are such an integral part of farm life. All animals really need to have a job or else they are wildly expensive and simply pets; which is fine. However, on a farm, it’s pretty helpful from a cost perspective that all the critters have a job. Cats are necessary for mousing. Here in the south mice and rats are a huge problem. We’ve never lived anywhere with such a situation. Since we are not into mega chemicals that can kill other things – mousers are the only way. So we have numerous cats on our farm that we dearly love and they do a great service here.
We have also had another litter of AKC puppies on Mother’s Day!! So, we will have them for sale in the coming weeks and months. We had two merles (a blue and a red) and six black tri colored puppies. More pictures will be forthcoming as their eyes open. But here is a quick glimpse of the little ones.
On the critter front besides kittens and puppies, we’ve downsized our farm a great deal to deal with the ever increasing concern of low hay supplies in our collective future. Our farm is primarily dependent on hay as our fields are very hard packed clay and it will take years to build up enough top soil to effectively grow good grass. We have found homes for most of our horses, sheep and goats. We’ve kept our baby mule Unalii (Smuggler will be going to friends who have lots of grass and want to raise mules as well so she’ll be a great brood mare for them), a few milking goats and just a few sheep. This allows us to focus on our milking goats in smaller quantity, our Angus beef cows, our chickens, ducks and puppies. This also frees us up to grow a great deal more food in our gardens and our orchard. We added quite a few more fruit trees in the last few years.
We have found over the years that there is a “farming groove” you get in to that takes time to get to. I think most homesteaders do what we did, ramp up on some things while not focusing enough on other things. Over time we all learn the rhythm and the needs of the farm and those things lacking get attention, and the things where we overshot the moon get thinned to relative appropriateness within the farm eco-system. Each homestead is different. Some folks emphasis just one or two types of animals, others focus on gardens (stuff not ‘on the hoof’), while others focus on the forest via milling and woodworking. Then there are those of us crazy folk who focus on all of it and we find ourselves STRETCHED thin. With that learning curve comes the awareness of preferences and priorities, climate limitations or optimizations and land typography dynamics. Also, the age of us homesteaders and the reality of children willing to help is a huge thing. We have found a lot of folks like to visit, but the notion of helping with the work is an entirely different matter. That makes a farm like ours hard to sustain (actually impossible) as we age due to the sheer work of the farm. (Did I mention the weeds alone can get about six feet tall if left unattended over a six week period?)
Fortunately for us we are blessed with a young family who we adore and consider our kids, buying one of our cabins on our farm. They will raise their young kids there and have a background in farm life and choose to live this way. They can be an integral part of the farm moving forward. Also our daughter and her fiancé are moving to another section of our farm where we will be moving the tiny cabin Mike built for another daughter who decided this wasn’t the way of life for her, and placing the cabin on that piece of land. The first location of that tiny cabin was a huge problem as it sat right at the entrance of our property and our realtor said if we ever wanted to or needed to sell our land should we be here alone as we age and it’s just too much for us, well that cabin would need to go. So, it needed to move anyway and our daughter found out she was pregnant and wants to raise her son on the farm like she did. She understands the work involved to carry this life forward and knows the value of a child learning work, living outside, growing food, etc. as she was raised this way. She truly values the opportunity to pass this way of life onto her son…and the cycle continues.
The progress so far on the tiny cabin project is good. The footers are in and the slab will be poured for the basement next week. It was supposed to be today but we have more to do on radon and a few other items to be prepared for the pour. Then the walk out basement block will be done, the walkout portion lumber framed walls will be built and THEN we will move the tiny cabin onto the structure!!
We can then proceed to finish out the walkout basement after the cabin has been moved to the location.
We stopped the staining on the cabin as we will finish it after it is moved away from the front entrance of our drive and onto its new location. The right picture is the new location where the cabin will go. It is a little finger of land we have on another road that we had never paid any attention to. Once our daughter found out she was pregnant and we had already sold our other cabin, we looked at this land and thought “wow, the tiny cabin would fit perfectly here.” We solved three problems – 1) the cabin gets moved away from the entrance of our property, 2) our daughter is paying for it so we recoup all the money we put into the cabin for our other daughter which was a lot and 3) we use a piece of land that wasn’t being used before that was covered in kudzu and was a risk to the remainder of our land (now excavated out so it stops the kudzu.). I should say that for us, the greatest gift in the notion that the Lord provides, is the fact one of our children wants to live here and continue life on the farm and will be able to help us here as we age so this way of life can continue on.
If you haven’t grown up in this way of life, things like using the grass for animals to graze, cutting firewood for your wood stove, having foxes around that causes you to think about your pets, bears roaming around while your walking your dog, helping on the farm for the ‘group chores’ like getting the hay in…..is normal and a requirement to be done. Everyone helps. That’s how it is on a farm.
What has become so clear for us is some folks really don’t like the work. I wonder how many people could function in the city if they had to take care of themselves if their technology was off and they couldn’t connect to Siri. Country folk do a great deal by hand and have that intrinsic knowledge of how to care for themselves. I find the native intelligence of rural people profound. It is so underrated and under appreciated by the urban mind set but deep and valuable none the less. I have been so fascinated by this divergence I have been studying it and living it for over 20 years in great depth.
I literally had someone tell me last year that farm life isn’t necessary to know as those skills will go away because government will confiscate the farms, grow the food and provide it to the cities – so there was no need to know these things.
I thought wow, he doesn’t know anything about either the government or rural America does he.
I just smiled. I have had very expensive legal battles against “agenda 21” in very real terms. I have been deeply embedded in this issue since 2004 in New York when our region and our specific farm was targeted for this initiative. After approximately $75,000 dollars later in legal bills I can tell you I won, but I can also tell you that the agenda to stop farming and move people into ‘hamlets’ is very real and very dangerous. So, when someone tells me they think it will happen – gov’t will be our savior and feed the city, I laugh. I really really laugh. Should I tell them I think? I always opt for no – don’t tell them. Why? Bursting their bubble will only anger them and it isn’t worth it. There is enough evidence if you look. There are also enough people now who have battled the legal battles against this agenda and won for you to learn more. So, often I just smile when people speak on these things. They’ll learn, in time.
In our area many folks are moving here from the city. The rural folk are hopeful because they are kind. But, the stories are shocking of the urban / rural merge. In talking to our local farmer who has a huge farmers market she was sharing how new urban folks who recently moved here came to the farm to complain because the dirt from the tractor tires on the road by their farm was getting his wife’s car dirty and they didn’t appreciate it. That is an urban thing I guess, big issues with a dirty car so the neighbor can’t use his tractor on the road that surrounds his farm. Wow. Our horse trainer’s dad said he got complaints because new city neighbors complained because they loved the view of his cows but could periodically smell the cows so they’d like him to clean up his pasture. It becomes so obviously that so many city people view rural life as scenic and something they as the collective have a right to comment on and somehow dictate via the concepts of HOA rules and regulations, which drastically restrict a farmers’ ability to farm. We ourselves had a neighbor complain about our dogs barking (we have coyotes and foxes here along with bear) during the day periodically because their Air B and B guests thought they were vacationing in the mountains at the neighbor’s house. Meanwhile, the are surrounded by farms, not public forest land. That just doesn’t fly in the country, not at all. And, it never will. That mindset needs to stay in the city. Forever.
This notion that others assume they can dictate how people use their land is shocking to farmers. For those who have lost sight of either the work involved or the realities of a farm should not count on farms to feed them in times of scarcity. But, this is what rubs farmers and rural people raw all the time.
I’ve lived both lives and see that the ways of each life is so diametrically opposite of the other. Each way of life has its benefits. But the lack of awareness of rural life and how it runs is really lost on people.
We don’t care to engage that mindset. It’s tiresome and lacks being informed. If folks need food then pay the premium mark up at your store and hope there is always on demand supplies at your disposal. Great. But, don’t complain about it.
Us? Well, we are going to go on our way farming, growing our own food and building a community of like minded people who get it. Ignorance isn’t tolerated by us too much at this juncture in our lives. You live your way and we’ll live ours, happily and without regret.
With that clarity our lives have become much more simple and much more joyous to be honest.
Trying to bring different people with different views about life together is just simply not achievable. That is so great to know as it was so much work trying to show different ways of life could merge in a deep and meaningful way. It takes so much work off our hands freeing us up to do more of what we love.
Aren’t we all sorta realizing this recently? That people are VERY different, very polarized and very negative of those who thinking differently than them? The other party seems almost mad to distraction/delusion.
We subscribe to the live and let live view. You do you and we’ll do us. Don’t project your philosophy onto us and we will offer the same respect to you. Your views simply aren’t ours – that’s called freedom. And respecting each others’ personal freedom in that regard.
That seems at the heart of the issue in America – some want to project their views on the rest of us, as if we aren’t free. Freedom to think, freedom to speak, freedom to be, freedom to live – how we want. The socialist group think, group do, group behave agenda is tiring and we are simply done with it.
I bet tons of you feel the exact same way.
This is why we favor less federal and more local. Let each local do their own thing…….as based on by the local citizens. The one size fits all idea that manifests in one policy at the federal level just really doesn’t cut it for anyone; and rightly so. Everyone has their right to live their way.
With that we carry on at the farm. Our priorities this spring into summer is get a huge garden going which I will blog on next time, and get the tiny cabin project as far along as we can before our grandson is born.
These are all inspiring activities for us and keep us uplifted and motivated each and every day.
As the world has gotten more complex and turbulent in recent times, our lives here at the farm have gotten miraculously more simple. There is great peace in that and we are the happiest we have ever been. We can tune out the world, and keep our eyes on the beauty and simplicity of our life on our farm. It is work, but work we like.
We hope you all have a wonderful week and you too can separate from the noise and distractions, not get triggered by the ignorance of the masses, and carry on.
All is well. God is good. We are blessed.
~ Notes from the farm May 18th, 2022